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Tom Gores and the Pistons release statement on George Floyd, police brutality and need for action

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‘Words aren’t enough,’ Gores said, and I’ve never agreed with him more

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons and owner Tom Gores released a statement today touching on the turmoil rocking the country as countless cities, including Detroit and many others in Michigan protest the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of police.

The statement condemns the “racism, police brutality and inequitable justice that continue to divide our country” but also emphasizes action over words, which, to my mind, is appreciated.

As we have seen an endless stream of organizations release statements trying to accommodate every demographic, turn their avatar black and call it a day, I am happy to see the Pistons call out not just what they are dong but that more needs to be done. And it doesn’t sacrifice calling out the actual injustice we are seeing every day at the altar of the nebulous concept of “understanding.”

The full statement is below:

The protests that have unfolded across our country over the last week and the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor shine a piercing light on issues of racism, police brutality and inequitable justice that continue to divide our country. As an organization, we condemn those things. But words aren’t enough. The call to action is loud and clear and our organization is committed with a high sense of urgency to helping facilitate not only healing, but change

Coach Casey said in his statement over the weekend: “Now is the time for real change.” In that spirit, we will use our platform, our creativity and our persistence to drive action in hopes of making this moment a turning point.

Uniting the community has long been a priority for our organization, one we will underscore with new urgency by expanding initiatives like Building Bridges Through Basketball, which brings local youth together with law enforcement. We’ll build and strengthen our relationships with Peace Players, Bing Youth Institute, the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, City Year and SAY Detroit, and we will support other organizations that bridge divides, educate and support inclusion and create opportunity and equality. Beyond that, we will identify new ways to build civic engagement, rally 2020 Census participation and galvanize voter registration. And we’ll immediately engage our players, our staff, our employees and our partners in the community to bring forward new ideas that will enhance this list.

The last few months have been difficult and dispiriting, and we have a long road ahead to heal deep wounds laid bare both by a new crisis wrought by the global pandemic, and a painfully old one wrought by the recurring wounds of racial division. We will do our part to contribute to that healing not only through words but action.